The healthcare.gov website is experiencing heavy traffic as the March 31 health insurance sign-up deadline looms. For anyone who tries and fails, there will be an extension to the deadline.
“The White House announced an extension for those who are trying to enroll but, through no fault of their own, haven’t been able to,” said Brenda Procter, state consumer and family economics specialist for University of Missouri Extension.
The key is you have to go to healthcare.gov and try to enroll by the March 31 deadline.
“If you want to get the time extension, you must go to healthcare.gov and try to enroll. After the March 31 deadline, you simply check a little blue box on that site that indicates that you’ve been trying to sign up for insurance before the deadline but haven’t been able to do that,” Procter said.
There is a caveat. That blue check box will not be available until midnight, April 1. Procter says if you haven’t tried to enroll before the deadline, you will not get an extension.
Complex cases will also get more time, Procter said. For example, victims of domestic violence who don’t want to file jointly will have extra time to work through their case.
Additional time will be granted for consumers who do not enroll electronically. Procter says the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services must receive paper applications by April 7. Those applicants will then have until April 30 to choose a health care plan.
The federal government wants to take care of everyone who is in line.
“Just like voting, if you’re standing in line you still get to vote even after the polls close,” Procter said. “As long as you’re queued up for enrollment, you’ll get extra time.”
The MU Extension Health Insurance Education Initiative provides consumers with information and resources to help them make informed health care decisions. You can find more information by visiting extension.missouri.edu/insure.